Summary: Are you ready to receive 3000 people today? 1000?500? 5? 1? What do we need to do to prepare to receive those that God has placed just outside our doors?
Tell the person next to you, “It’s no coincidence… that you are here.” “God brought you here!” We need to understand that the only reason people talk about God, or come to church, is because God draws them. That is why we need to be prepared.
Bob called his wife from work in the middle of the afternoon. “I’m able to get two tickets fro the show we wanted to see. It’s playing now. Do you want to see it?” “Oh, yes!” she answered excitedly. “I’ll get ready right away.” “Do that.” Bob said, “the tickets are for tomorrow night.” We need to be ready, for tomorrow, may be the day God brings folks here!
20So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
30Then Elijah said to all the people “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. 36And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37“Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 38Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”
Are we dancing or doing? Notice the false prophets were busy dancing. Elijah was busy doing. What is the difference? The false prophets were dancing for a false god. They were heavily involved with activity. Understand the fleshly activity that I am talking about. First, the crowd motivated them. Everyone was on the false prophets side! However, God wasn’t. So when they did not achieve the desired outcome, they began to do greater things. I am not talking about dancing here. Dancing is not necessarily wrong. David danced. I am talking about falling into the trap of the flesh. Their physical activity no longer kept the crowd’s interest, so they began cutting themselves, and yelling louder. What ever it took to maintain the crowd. However, there came a time when even that became boring. The crowd was looking for lightening, not blood. They wanted to hear from God, not man. Man’s efforts are never good enough. They may attract at first, but in the long run, people lose interest!
Elijah was busy doing. “Be doers of the word.” He was building up the altar of God during this time. Elijah had to physically repair the altar all by himself. He had to make physical preparations for the altar to be prepared. There were 12 stones, the bull had to be physically cut, and a trench was dug. He did not have a crowd to entertain. He did not have time to entertain. He had God’s business to perform! His self-esteem wasn’t based on the crowd; his ministry concept was not focused on tickling their ears. He was doing what God had commanded!
One application is that there are churches that are active in circus type activity. They will draw a big crowd for a while, but because of their teachings, or lack there of, sooner or later people will lose interest. What we need to do is not worry about them. Let God take care of that. We need to be willing to stand-alone for a while, and be content with doing God’s work by ourselves. Am I saying to close everyone out? No! They choose when to come. Elijah offered an invitation. We will continue to offer our invitation as well. I believe that people will see that we are genuine and because of Christ in us will want to come and join our work. Hear this, Elijah didn’t excuse himself when no one followed. He didn’t quit. He continued to do God’s work. He was working while they were dancing! Folks, do you think we need to be any different? We need to be working while others are dancing! We need to continue to gather every Sunday and ask, “Whose side are you on?” And when no one seems to pay us any attention we should continue about God’s business. Let’s be honest, do you think that we could handle 1000 new believers? 500? 300? 75? Do you think we could be responsible for 5? Truthfully, it would be awesome to experience, but we are not ready for that number yet. Elijah had no one, so he prepared physically for everyone! We need to prepare physically. Rainer’s book on the unchurched; tells about how that being committed to exceptionallism had kingdom results. People brought their kids etc. got saved!